Addicting Games has acquired Mope.io, a web and mobile survival game with more than 72 million players.
The move is part of an addicting games revival that has followed a winding path but is re-emerging as a maker of simple casual games that you can play online or on mobile when you want to run away or learn something new. In times of big budget games it may sound too easy, but Addicting Games attracts more than 10 million players a month.
One of the ironies of the gaming wheel of commerce is that Addicting Games, which was once bought and given away, is now back in the acquisition business.
The Santa Monica, California-based company did not disclose the purchase price, but said the deal was more than “seven figures.”
Stan Tatarnykov created Mope.io, which puts users in the role of a tiny creature that survives in a world of player-type predators. Players search for food, avoid being eaten, and improve the food chain by unlocking new skills and eventually becoming an apex predator. The more powerful the players get, the bigger the target on their backs.
This type of game doesn’t make the headlines. Bill “Kara” Karamouzis, CEO of Addicting Games, said in an interview that the deal is part of a plan to further expand the company’s user base. Karamouzis said Mope.io has 65 million unique players on the web and 7 million on iOS and Android. Addicting Games will use its development resources and capital to improve the game’s features and optimize its functionality to create a deeper and more complete survival experience for creatures.
A long story
If Addicting Games sounds familiar, it’s because it was a long time ago. Karamouzis founded Addicting Games in 2000 when it also went from FPS Networks. The company was acquired by Atom Shockwave, one of the original makers of games based on Macromedia’s Shockwave and Flash players. It became part of Atom Entertainment.
In 2006, MTV Networks bought Viacom Atom Entertainment, including Shockwave and Addicting Games. Karamouzis stayed for a while and then left to start a new company, Hallpass Media, a social gaming portal that was acquired by MindJolt (the predecessor of Jam City) in 2011. Karamouzis spent two years in Jam City before starting the new startup TeachMe.com, which makes games around math and other educational topics.
“We learned a lot about analytics in Jam City and applied that to educational games,” said Karamouzis.
In 2014 Defy Media acquired GameTrailers, Addicting Games, and Shockwave from Viacom. But in 2018, Defy Media imploded.
“When they imploded, I reached out to their CEO. And they had already laid off their engineering team and Shockwave was up for sale, ”Karamouzis said. He said, ‘We cannot support it. ‘We said,’ We built this and don’t need any support. Just give it to us. ‘They were deeply in debt and we were able to give them money to extend their runway for a few months. “
Karamouzis drove to the company in Beverly Hills, California. And he took a server that put Addicting Games (and Shockwave) back up and running.
“One of their engineers brought out a physical server and put it in the trunk of my car on the day security took over the entire building,” Karamouzis said. “It was pretty crazy. It was the craziest acquisition we’ve made. “
The company now has more than 5,000 games from hundreds of independent developers. Since 2018, the company has been finding and publishing titles from promising developers. If they grow fast, Addicting Games will buy them right away, as is the case with Mope.io. The company launches more than a dozen games a week. Most of these are HTML5 games that can be played on the web or mobile devices as the original Flash platform fails. Addicting Games converted many of the old Flash titles to HTML5.
“We’re working on the list,” said Karamouzis.
Addicting Games has a $ 1.5 million convertible loan (a loan that converts into shares in the company) from Toronto-based Enthusiast Gaming and has used that to expand. The company now has 21 employees, is profitable, and is expected to have sales of $ 5 million.
Titles include Fratboy Girlfriend TD, Pencil Racer, LittleBigSnake, and 50 States. In the meantime, the TeachMe.com property had a huge hit with their math game MathGames.com, which school kids working on Chromebooks are now playing. The game is experiencing a resurgence during the pandemic as kids are forced to study on computers, and TeachMe.com’s games can make learning math online fun. Around 80,000 children played every day.
“We have this crazy home environment and parents don’t have time to watch their children like a teacher would,” Karamouzis said.